I love good questions – they indicate that a person is seeking the truth, trying to find their way, and hungers for reality and purpose. It is by asking questions that we all grow in grace and learn the Father’s heart. We begin comprehending the truth of who He is, and what His intentions are towards us. All of this transforms us.
The Father is interested in our questions and is always ready to answer. (I’m sure the common statement “The only dumb question is the one left unasked” originates in the heart of God.) So let’s set our hearts and explore the Scriptures, asking questions, thus demonstrating our kingly character by “search(ing) out a matter.” (Prov. 25:2).
- “Are you changing God’s mind?”
- “Are you affecting His decision making?”
- “Are you claiming God changes?”
These are questions that deserve answers. On them hinges the whole notion of us (the Bride of Jesus) being called to change our world and disciple the nations. I’ll put it to you simply:
If we cannot change God’s mind then we are not His image-bearers and are merely like the angels (not to disrespect the angels!). If we do not affect His decision making then we are not His sons and daughters. We are mere robots. (More on these assertions later.)
First: How do we change God’s mind?
So how do we do this? The answer is not too tough; He tells us how in His Word. And I find at least 6 ways found in Scripture. We can change God’s mind by:
- Appealing to His covenant faithfulness
- Appealing to His mercy
- Appealing to Him with humility
- Appealing to Him through repentance
- Standing relentlessly in persistent, expectant prayer
- Interceding with Him based on the promises of Scripture
1. We can change God’s mind by appealing to His covenant faithfulness
God changes His mind when His covenant promises are put into His remembrance. Here is the riveting account in Exodus 32 of Moses and God debating the matter of God’s intent to destroy Israel and replace it with a nation springing out of Moses’ line:
The LORD said to Moses, “I have seen these people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.” Then Moses entreated the LORD his God, and said, “O LORD, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent, He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’” So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people. (Exodus 32:9-14 NASB, emphasis mine)
There’s no denying this; the language of Scripture speaks clearly and precisely. Moses reminded God of the covenant He had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (Jacob). He asked God to change His mind in view of this promise. God’s response? He did just that. He changed His mind!
You’ve got the power!
Anytime you find yourself seeing something going on in your life which is not in accord with the covenant faithfulness of God, you are empowered and encouraged to petition God! Notice that God prompts Moses to intervene. He doesn’t set the stage in advance and tell Moses that he’s going to have the opportunity to change the mind of the Lord of Glory. –Nothing of the sort. The idea to interrupt and get in His way came completely and originally out the heart of Moses. He saw the incongruity between what God was intending at the moment and the bigger picture of who God was in relationship to the fathers of the nation. We, too, have to put our thinking caps and feeling hearts and put on FULL POWER and engage with God when situations call for it. What situations are present in and around your life that appear to need a change in God’s mind and heart? Don’t be afraid, and don’t be bashful. God calls you “friend” and expects you to speak up!
No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15 NKJV)
We are friends of God
Friendships are not one-sided relationships; this is the point Jesus wants to make with us. He wants interaction; He wants to stand up and let our hearts be known! His will is not some immovable, unchangeable, forever settled matter. The Father created us so that He could bring people to His existing fellowship (He plus the Son and the Holy Ghost) who are just like Him in every way. (Minus the omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, of course.)
Next: In Part 2 we’ll continue answering the first question, “How do we change God’s mind?”
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